Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist
Giant Squid “The Icthyologist” 20009 (Self-released)
Sometimes things can go very wrong. San Francisco band Giant Squid’s publicist and well-known metal writer, Adrian Bromley died an untimely death from Pneumonia at the tender age of 37. The band was left with the daunting task of promoting themselves to magazines and websites upon release of their second album. The Ichthyologist takes in many kinds of music besides metal. There are parts where singer Aaron Gregory’s voice at the beginning of “Dead Man Slough” makes you wonder if he has been gurgling the same whiskey mixed with gravel that Tom Waits has been digesting for many years. The sultry female vocals combined with chamber music of “Sutterville” echo Portishead. Like all so-called post-metal bands there is some Neurosis making its way into the light and lurking in the shadows. The ocean concept is strong throughout the album. Humpback whales’ matings calls alert the listener to the start of “Sevengill”. The classical instrumentation may make a listener wonder if they’ve accidentally flicked on an album from their parents’ collection however the ballsy metallic riffing will reassure this is not the case. “Mormon Island” is a soothing piece with flute, ever present cello brought to the fore and female vocals capable with a lulling effect. Sailors could easily become shipwrecked due to a trance induced by this track.
The “Ichthyologist” threw me as I had read high praise of the band in many respected quarters and the album didn’t draw me in immediately. Clocking in at an hour it seemed way too long however after subsequent listenings I found that like a bottle of fine wine it had to age a little first. Giant Squid have made an album that is ideal listening for flicking off the lights and watching an underwater documentary or to be enjoyed through headphones whilst staring at a tropical fishtank at your local aquarium. The CD is limited to 1,000 copies and a vinyl version of the album is due out in the near future.
Giant Squid on myspace.
Giant Squid's souvenier shop